Accumulation of deleted mitochondrial DNA in aging Drosophila melanogaster

Genes Genet Syst. 2003 Jun;78(3):245-51. doi: 10.1266/ggs.78.245.


Cumulative damage in mitochondria by reactive oxygen species is thought to result in a decrease in mitochondrial respiratory function and to contribute to the age-related decline in the physiological function of organisms. The mitochondrial genome is also subjected to damage with age through deletions. The accumulation of deleted mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has been observed in various animals, but still remains unclear in insects. We examined the accumulation of deleted mtDNA in D. melanogaster at various ages from larvae to 65-day-old adults. When DNA extracted from whole bodies was examined by PCR and Southern hybridization, the age-related accumulation of deletions was not clear. However, when the accumulation of deleted mtDNA with age was examined separately in three parts of the body (head, thorax and abdomen), deleted mtDNA signals were detected more frequently in the thorax and the accumulation was age-dependent. Three of the deleted mtDNA were cloned, and the breakpoints of the deletions were identified. These results strongly suggest that deleted mtDNA accumulates in Drosophila with age in a tissue-specific manner.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics*
  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Southern
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Genome
  • Larva / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Deletion*
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • DNA